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The Live Music Forum Copyright Campaign


Recently, at a Westminster Media Forum on Copyright we asked some questions about what was being done to move to a wider and fiarer copyright distribution. Since nobody was able to offer any answer we followed these questions up with a letter to the Intellectual Propety Office. Since the IPO were unable to offer any constructive contribution we have now written to the CEO of PRS for Music. Here is the text of our letter,

Dear Mr Ashcroft
You may remember the 'original' Live Music Forum from the extensive close work we did with Hamish Birchall and Lord Clement-Jones in the conception and promotion of the Live Music Act 2012, which led to more live music in England and Wales.
At that time I was invited to speak at a Westminster Media Forum on Live Music and, while listening to a different panel, I asked a question about tracks from local bands which are played on temporarily licensed FM Radio stations but do not generate royalty payments to the artists who are PRS members.
On that occasion, I received a very short reply along the lines of 'too expensive to distribute'.
One would have thought that with all the technical innovations made since 2012 that it would be possible to process the data for local artists who have worked extremely hard under their own steam to produce the music being broadcast.
As I understand it, the amounts that would have been paid to PRS members who had their music played are 'aggregated' up and shared out to the more successful artists and rightsholders, in the top 500 for instance. I don't know of any circumstances where an artist played on a local music programme on an FM station in Hastings has received a payment from PRS for that play. None of my tracks played over the last twenty-five years have ever produced a payment.
CD Baby and Spotify can manage to pay me +/- $0.0007 for every play around the globe, so it begs the question, 'Why can't I receive proper royalties for plays on local radio stations that are paying fees to PRS and PPL ?'. There are 200 community radio stations in the UK, many featuring local music, and this is a widespread problem affecting musicians all over the country.
In the course of this campaign I have heard comments that the amounts are so small that they are not worth bothering about. That is far from the point when you are an 'unsigned' professional musician trying to survive in a diminishing landscape by combining your earnings from a variety of sources such as gigs, lessons, cd/download sales and royalties. Every penny counts. For every musician who enjoys success on the radio or television there are several hundred others who are trying to survive by whatever means they can. To simply divert their earnings to other artists is both socially and culturally immoral.
Modern technology is more than capable of dealing with the information gap and, even if the radio stations were unable to provide the data, and electronic identification was not employed, it should be possible to have a self-reporting process similar to the PRS system for claiming royalties on live performances.
It is my hope that now we have ample technology, PRS for Music can introduce a system that corrects this inequity and I look forward to hearing back from you to this effect.
Yours Sincerely
Phil Little
The Live Music Forum ​


Emal: editor@livemusicforum.co.uk